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Winter salad with couscous, broccoli, and chickpeas

With sweet and sour tahini dressing

I don’t know how it might seem to you but… it’s the tastiest salad that we’ve ever enjoyed in this house! This winter salad with vegetable couscous, broccoli, peas, chickpeas, and a sweet and sour tahini dressing has won over our hearts! The little hands enjoyed it playfully, eating almost all of it, while the demanding larger hands had a second serving! And if that’s not convincing enough, let me tell you that it’s an incredibly nutritious and quick lunch or dinner! The broccoli and chickpeas create an amazing combination with the handmade fresh vegetable couscous by Mama Irene Pasta, while the dressing really makes the dish shine! A light but a filling meal for the whole family which, despite being vegan (and suitable for Lent) has everything the main course needs. 

salad with couscous

What we are going to need

For the salad

  • Vegetable couscous by Mama Irene Pasta. Handmade pure pasta from fine Greek grains full of freshness and enjoyment. This pure, handmade pasta is incredibly tasty, nutritious, and at the same time playful. They’re colourful, delicious pearls of freshly selected vegetables (Red pepper, spinach, beetroot), without added salt, fermented only with fresh vegetables, suitable for vegans, and belong to the “Happy Kids” collection by Mama Irene Pasta. The vegetable couscous can be found over at mamairenepasta.gr, and using the code “LITTLEHANDS” you can get 10% off every purchase. 
  • Vegetables. Fresh and red onions, broccoli, peas, and purple cabbage. The cabbage was a last-minute addition and it proved to be an amazing idea. We had purple cabbage from Grandpa’s farm, but you can also add white instead, of course. For younger children, I’d suggest you sauté it with the other vegetables. 
  • Chickpeas. You’ll need a cup of boiled chickpeas, or more or less depending on your tastes. Of course, you can skip them, but they complete the dish, as they’re an excellent source of proteins and iron. You can store soaked or boiled chickpeas in your freezer in portions to save time when you want to add them to a meal. 
  • Olive oil. Virgin olive oil. 
  • Spices. Sweet paprika and turmeric, which we love so much. Garlic powder.

For the dressing

  • Olive oil
  • Balsamic vinegar. I used honey balsamic cream since that was what I had in my pantry, and the dressing was truly transformed. Of course, this cream is suitable for children over the age of one, with pure ingredients. Alternatively, you can use whichever balsamic vinegar you have and add 1 tsp. honey. 
  • Whole-grain tahini. The whole-grain tahini has more fiber, just like all whole-grain products, and so we prefer it. You’ll find amazing whole-grain tahini at Mama Irene Pasta. Instead of tahini, you can also use peanut butter.
  • Lemon. The juice of half a lemon.
salad with couscous

Tips

  • The winter salad with couscous and broccoli can be served both hot and cold. We loved it cold.
  • Of course, you can play around with the ingredients, and adjust them to what you happen to have at home. For example, you can add sweet potatoes or leeks, skip the chickpeas, or add beans. Whatever you like. 
  • You can store couscous with broccoli for 2–3 days in the fridge. 
  • I suggest cooking cabbage along with the other vegetables for children over the age of one. 
  • To avoid dirtying too many pots, you can boil the peas either with the couscous or like I did, in the pan after you’ve removed the vegetables. While the pan’s still hot, I added the frozen peas and just a bit of water and let it boil for 3–4 minutes before straining. 
  • If your vegetable couscous doesn’t absorb all the water, strain it. For a less mushy and fluffy result, wash it under cold water. Mix softly using a spoon so that you can let all the water out.
salad with couscous

How the little hands can help

  • Initially, by choosing the vegetables from the grocery store. 
  • Then, wash the vegetables. This is everyone’s favourite moment, as it’s a water activity, and the little hands love playing with water.
  • Of course, they can also cut the broccoli, even breaking it with their little hands.
  • They can also add the couscous to the pot and mix. 
  • When all the ingredients of the winter salad with couscous are ready, give them a large bowl and let them add the ingredients and mix thoroughly. The same applies to the dressing.

How to offer it with the BLW method

For infants 6–9 months old

  • Offer the broccoli thoroughly boiled, in little trees. While I mentioned broccoli is good when it’s a little crunchy, you’ll need to pay attention with infants, and you need to boil it well. 
  • Offer cooked cabbage and not raw.
  • Press the chickpeas a little to change their spherical shape and to make them less of a choking hazard. The same thing happens with peas, though it has a good size. 
  • Chickpeas, peas, and couscous can be offered in pre-loaded spoons, which I’ve mentioned here.

For babies 9–12 months old

You can offer the salad on a sectioned plate with all the ingredients separate so that they can choose. This can also help picky eaters eat more easily. If, on the other hand, you want to serve it normally, you know your kid the best. The ingredients of couscous with broccoli and chickpeas don’t need any special treatment at this age, besides the cabbage which should be offered thoroughly cooked.

salad with couscous

More Recipes

Prep Time10 minsCook Time20 minsTotal Time30 mins

For the salad
 400 g vegetable couscous by Mama Irene Pasta
 1 small broccoli
 1 onion, chopped
 1 cup boiled peas
 1 fresh onion, chopped
 1 cup purple cabbage, chopped
 3 tbsp olive oil
 1 ½ tsp sweet paprika
  tsp garlic powder
 1 cup boiled chickpeas
 ½ tsp turmeric
  pepper
  salt (for children over the age of one)
For the sauce
 4 tbsp olive oil
 4 tbsp balsamic vinegar (or honey balsamic cream for children over the age of one)
 1 ½ tsp carob syrup or honey (for children over the age of one)
 1 tbsp tahini
 ½ lemon, juiced
  salt (for children over the age of one)

1

In a medium-sized pot, boil about 4–5 cups of water.

2

When the water has boiled, add the vegetable couscous by Mama Irene Pasta and boil for 4 minutes.

3

Shut off the heat, remove the pot, and cover it, allowing the couscous to absorb the water and get inflated.

4

On the same time, chop the vegetables and cut the broccoli in little trees.

5

Heat a large pan over medium to high heat and add the olive oil.

6

Add the spices so they can give their aroma and mix 1–2 times with a wooden spatula.

7

Continue by sautéing the chopped onions for 2–3 minutes. Then, add the broccoli and the lemon, letting the vegetable grow soft and golden, for 8–10 minutes. The broccoli should still be a little crunchy, unless you have infants—in that case, add water and let it boil. Also, for babies, in this step you should add the cabbage so that it can grow soft, or you can boil it with the peas.

8

Before removing from the heat, add the boiled chickpeas and let them brown and release some aromas for 2–3 minutes.

9

Wash the vegetable couscous under cold water and strain to fluff it up, and add it to a large salad bowl.

10

Add the vegetables and the chickpeas in the salad bowl and mix well with gentle movements.

11

Finally, prepare the dressing by mixing all the ingredients together.

12

Serve and enjoy.

Ingredients

For the salad
 400 g vegetable couscous by Mama Irene Pasta
 1 small broccoli
 1 onion, chopped
 1 cup boiled peas
 1 fresh onion, chopped
 1 cup purple cabbage, chopped
 3 tbsp olive oil
 1 ½ tsp sweet paprika
  tsp garlic powder
 1 cup boiled chickpeas
 ½ tsp turmeric
  pepper
  salt (for children over the age of one)
For the sauce
 4 tbsp olive oil
 4 tbsp balsamic vinegar (or honey balsamic cream for children over the age of one)
 1 ½ tsp carob syrup or honey (for children over the age of one)
 1 tbsp tahini
 ½ lemon, juiced
  salt (for children over the age of one)

Directions

1

In a medium-sized pot, boil about 4–5 cups of water.

2

When the water has boiled, add the vegetable couscous by Mama Irene Pasta and boil for 4 minutes.

3

Shut off the heat, remove the pot, and cover it, allowing the couscous to absorb the water and get inflated.

4

On the same time, chop the vegetables and cut the broccoli in little trees.

5

Heat a large pan over medium to high heat and add the olive oil.

6

Add the spices so they can give their aroma and mix 1–2 times with a wooden spatula.

7

Continue by sautéing the chopped onions for 2–3 minutes. Then, add the broccoli and the lemon, letting the vegetable grow soft and golden, for 8–10 minutes. The broccoli should still be a little crunchy, unless you have infants—in that case, add water and let it boil. Also, for babies, in this step you should add the cabbage so that it can grow soft, or you can boil it with the peas.

8

Before removing from the heat, add the boiled chickpeas and let them brown and release some aromas for 2–3 minutes.

9

Wash the vegetable couscous under cold water and strain to fluff it up, and add it to a large salad bowl.

10

Add the vegetables and the chickpeas in the salad bowl and mix well with gentle movements.

11

Finally, prepare the dressing by mixing all the ingredients together.

12

Serve and enjoy.

Winter salad with couscous, broccoli, and chickpeas

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